“The Three” is a poem written by Maya Angelou, an African American poetess who read it at the inauguration of Bill Clinton as president of the USA inJanuary 1993. Composed of 6 stanzas, the poem is adressed to mankind, so its message is universal but concerns the americans in particular. Indeed, the first three stanzas of the poem deal with Americanhistory but the last stanzas deal with the future of the United States. The poem can be divided into two parts, the three first stanzas, dealing with the inglorious past of the US and the three laststanzas dealing with the future of the US and the hope that the poetess has for its people and its country.
The three first stanzas.
The three first stanzas deal with the past.
a) “You who gave me myfirst name, you Pawnee, Apache and Seneca” refers to the old native indian tribes living in the US before the European invasion.
b) “Left me to the employment of other seekers-desperate for gainstarving for gold” deals with the episode of the goldrush.
c) “You, the Turks, the Arab, the Swede, the German, the Eskimo, the Scot” refers to the european immigration that occured during the 20thcentury.
An inglorious past
a) “Forced on bloody feet, left to the employment of [...]” Refers to the Indians, slaughtered by the immigrants.
b) “Sold, stolen,arriving on a nightmare Praying for a dream” refers to the slavery and the conditions in which african slaves “You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru” lived in.
c) The three stanzas present the europeanimmigrants as responsible for this inglorious past “Other seekers”.
So the three first stanzas deal with the inglorious history of the US (immigration, slavery, and murders) and create a strong contrastwith the rest of the poem, full of hope and happiness.
The tree last stanzas.
The tree last stanzas deal with the present and the future of the US
a) “Women, children, men, Take it into the...